Parents & Families Weekend offers inside look at Penn State

August 17, 2009

By the first weekend of October, most Penn State students are fully immersed in campus life at University Park. They're settled into their new homes, classes are more than one-third complete, and football season is in full swing.

It seems a perfect time for families to connect with their students' new lifestyle at Parents & Families Weekend, Oct. 2-4. The weekend is designed to give families opportunities to learn more about the University while maintaining the freedom to choose how they wish to spend their time.

"There will be a whole host of events, but not all are designed for everyone, and the events are not only for first-year parents," explained Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Andrea Dowhower. "We want to give parents a sense of their son or daughter's experience and the services available to them at Penn State, everything from athletic events to student services."

Dowhower emphasized that the weekend, while supported by the Division of Student Affairs, is driven by the Penn State Alumni Association, which has numerous activities planned.

One of Friday's traditional favorites will be the Office of the President's Open House from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in 201 Old Main. Families can chat with President Graham Spanier and Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson while touring the executive offices. The Old Main bell tower will be open for tours, and families can enjoy live performances from the Penn State Cello Choir and the Penn State Performing Magicians.

Altogether, nearly a dozen events are scheduled for Friday and at least 34 different events are planned for Saturday. The highlight, "A Penn State Welcome for Parents and Family Members," takes place from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. in the HUB-Robeson Cultural Center's Alumni Hall. Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims and Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education Rob Pangborn will speak, followed by an overview of the weekend's activities.

Visit for a preliminary schedule of events and to register your participation in Parents & Families Weekend events. For questions regarding the scheduled activities, please contact the Penn State Alumni Association at (800) 548-LION (5466), option 4.

Over the entire three days, guests won't have to worry about finding a restaurant to meet their budget. Parents and family members can take advantage of a special meal deal at the Penn State dining commons for just $5 per person. Meals to be offered include: lunch and dinner on Friday, brunch/lunch and dinner on Saturday and brunch/lunch on Sunday. Visit for menus.

Also, parents are reminded that Parents & Families Weekend is typically a busy time in and around University Park. Parents are encouraged to make advance hotel
reservations. For information about Penn State's two hotels -- The Nittany Lion Inn and The Penn State Conference Center Hotel -- visit A list of other area accommodations can be obtained from the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitor's Bureau at or by calling (800) 358-5466.

To help Penn State enhance its parents' program, President Spanier is requesting parents to spend a few minutes providing the University with additional information about themselves and ways the University can partner with you to ensure your student's success. Please visit You will need your student's ID number to login.

Last Updated April 18, 2017